Anna Puigjaner
Anna Puigjaner

The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) announced today that Anna Puigjaner has won the 2016 Wheelwright Prize. Puigjaner, who practices in Barcelona as co-founder of MAIO with partners Maria Charneco, Alfredo Lérida, and Guillermo López, wins a $100,000 grant for travel-based research for her proposal, "Kitchenless City: Architectural Systems for Social Welfare." For the next two years, Puigjaner will study the typology of collective housing, with investigations ranging from historical precedents in the former Soviet Union to solar kitchens of India and kitchenless dwellings in Korea and Japan.

Bar Nou: Spatial Identity System
Courtesy MAIO/Image by José Hevia Bar Nou: Spatial Identity System

Anna Puigjaner co-founded MAIO, a Barcelona-based practice, with partners Maria Charneco, Alfredo Lérida, and Guillermo López in 2005. MAIO will complete a six-floor, 22-unit multifamily dwelling in Barcelona—its first ground-up construction—in the summer of 2016. The firm also participated in the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial in 2015 and was a finalist for MoMA PS1's 2014 Young Architects Program. Puigjaner received her B.Arch., M.Arch., and Ph.D. from the Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona-Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, and has lectured at Columbia University and Yale University, and elsewhere. She currently serves as the editorial director of Quaderns d’Arquitectura i Urbanisme.

Urban Space System, 2014, Vallcarca, Barcelona
Courtesy MAIO/Image by José Hevia Urban Space System, 2014, Vallcarca, Barcelona

In March, Harvard's GSD shortlisted four finalists—Puigjaner, Samuel Bravo, Matilde Cassani, and Pier Paolo Tamburelli—who were invited to present their research proposals to the jury. Puigjaner joins past winners Gia Wolff (2013), Jose Ahedo (2014), and Eric L’Heureux (2015) as a Wheelwright Prize winner in its new format as a worldwide open competition. Gia Wolff won the inaugural Wheelwright Prize in 2013, and presented her findings in an exhibition titled Floating City: The Community-Based Architecture of Parade Floats as part of the GSD's 2015 lecture series. Jose Ahedo won the 2014 Wheelwright Prize with a proposal aimed at studying agricultural architecture, and will return to the GSD with his results during the 2016 lecture series.

The jury for the 2016 Wheelwright Prize included standing members Mohsen Mostafavi, Intl. Assoc. AIA, dean of Harvard’s GSD, and K. Michael Hays, the GSD's Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory, who were joined by Eva Franch i Gilabert, chief curator and executive director of New York's Storefront for Art and Architecture; Jeannie Kim, assistant dean of academic programs and outreach at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto and winner of the Arthur C. Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship in 2002; Benjamin Prosky, executive director of the AIA's New York Chapter (AIANY); architect Rafael Moneo, Hon. FAIA; and Kiel Moe, AIA, associate professor of architecture and energy at the GSD.

"Anna Puigjaner’s historical research and interest in collective forms of living is extremely timely," noted juror Eva Franch i Gilabert in a release from the GSD. "How will the current sharing movement affect the way we inhabit and build the cities of tomorrow? How did we address this very same question in the past? I am looking forward to Puigjaner’s answers as we are trying to move architecture towards the future.”

“Contemporary discussions of housing need to benefit from radically fresh ideas," GSD dean Mohsen Mostafavi said in the GSD's release. "Anna Puigjaner’s project, Kitchenless City: Architectural Systems for Social Welfare, provides a new spatial imaginary for the consideration of dwelling in an increasingly diverse world. Her project captures the intention of the Wheelwright Prize, to spur discovery and find new possibilities for architecture.”

Read more about the Wheelwright Prize.

Watch all four finalist presentations for the 2016 Wheelwright Prize:

This post has been updated to include the names of the other Wheelwright Prize finalists as well as jury comments.